By Paula Hamilton


Featuring Susan Winter Ward
Yoga For The Young At Heart Series
Video Tape and/or Audio Cassette

I really like Susan Winter Ward.  Maybe it’s her yoga style, maybe it’s the strength, health and vibrancy she exudes, maybe it’s just nice to see a confident, beautiful woman who has graying hair, or maybe it’s that she does a really nice Hatha Yoga workout. 

Whatever the reason, I’m sure yoga enthusiasts will like this 40- minute video that fills a much- needed void.  Namely, a yoga session you can do from a chair. One that is designed to counteract the dreaded malady facing most office workers “creeping chair spread”. You know, that fatigued feeling you get from sitting all day and that spread-out look that gravity causes, making our thighs and bottoms take on the pear- shaped look which is great for diamonds, but terrible for body shapes.

The workout is conveniently available in either Video Tape or Audio Cassette format. I liked the workout and the stretches were truly invigorating. The tape is segmented into sections: Breathing (this alone felt great); Head, Neck and Shoulders; Hands and Wrists (excellent for carpal tunnel); Arms and Upper Back; Hips and Lower Back; Hamstrings and Forward Bend; Abdominal; Feet (this is glorious) and ends with Meditation.

If you are fortunate enough to be an employee of a progressive company who has a corporate fitness center, or just high enough in the chain to have your own office (with privacy) and a one-hour lunch break, I think this may even be something you could do at work. Though, I would recommend bringing a change of loose, comfortable clothes!  At least, leave the heels and skirt behind.  Unfortunately, if you are a cubicle dweller, you might wait until you get home; depending on your company, of course. Most companies find maternity leave a challenge, paternity leave is out in the ozone, and yoga from your desk?  Well, put it this way, they want you fit (read, less sick days) but just don’t do it on their time. (Besides, why turn on the office pervert.)

As far as an exercise program for the disabled or physically challenged is concerned, honestly it would depend greatly on exactly what your disability is.  For instance, several exercises would require weight-bearing ability, and balance control. Most require full range of motion in the upper and lower extremities. For some people this would not be possible.  If, however you are looking for a low-impact exercise program that would assist in reconditioning, this may be ideal. Again, it would depend on your limitations and endurance. But, as with any exercise program, you have to build up to it. What you can’t do the first twenty times, you may be able to do the twenty-first time. Go slow and ease into it.

Whenever I have had questions or concerns about exercises (as in the months that followed last year’s motor vehicle accident, where my back was weak and I wanted to avoid further injury), I asked my chiropractor to review the tape. I then followed his recommendations, and avoided those exercises he deemed unwise. If you travel a lot, sitting in a car, or airplane; take this with you to your hotel. 

It’s perfect. It will keep you fit, and  as a bonus, it will fill up your time so you don’t get into trouble.  Well produced and edited, it is easy to follow and flows along.  Try it, you’ll like it.  More good yoga stuff from Susan Winter Ward! 

For more information call (800) 558- YOGA (or 9642 for those of you who hate to spell). Coming soon is the interactive CD “Sitting Fit Anytime”, the perfect addition to corporate wellness and ergonomic programs. This CD also comes with a screensaver reminder to stretch and relax.



With Aileen Sheron RDK Productions, Inc.

I really had to laugh when I opened this recent shipment of items for review. Being that I am currently nine months pregnant with baby number two, I thought the timing was especially appropriate. The video is part of a set of videos, one for prenatal fitness and one for postnatal fitness.

The prenatal video is a sixty-four minute tape, designed in a classic low-impact aerobic routine. The tape includes a rubber exercise band that is utilized later in the workout. The sessions include two separate segments for a warm-up, three aerobic segments, two toning segments utilizing the exercise band, a stretching segment and a relaxation segment. I really liked the segmentation format because I think it will make it easier to customize the tape as your pregnancy progresses. Segments can be added or left out as needed to ensure the workout is not too stressful for you or the baby. However, always include the warm-ups and the cool downs!

Aileen Sheron’s perkiness and style remind me of Denise Austin.  The aerobic choreography includes classic grapevine steps, box steps and kicks.  If you have ever taken an aerobics class (did you get out of the ‘80’s without taking one?) this will be familiar.  Aileen herself is eight months pregnant and the two ladies with her are each in their third trimesters. Steps have been taken to insure safety of the participant by including regular reminders to drink water, and check perceived exhaustion level. There is also an interview in Q and A format with Raul Artal, MD at the end of the tape.

Instructions are included on how to check for diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles) for added safety, and of course, the tape is approved by the American College of OB-GYN’s. I liked the idea that none of the routine was performed on the floor, or lying on the back. Many prenatal tapes will include sections of the routine on the floor and then tell you not to do that portion after a period of time!  As a two-time pregnant lady and an R.N., I can’t stress enough the importance of staying fit and keeping the weight in control during pregnancy. However, pregnancy is not the ideal time to decide to become fit if you aren’t!

For instance, I have concentrated my fitness routines more toward yoga for the past several years, and while I could manage some aerobics, I did have difficulty with this tape. I would definitely classify this as a moderate level workout!  (Now, to be fair I am also in month number nine, which is not the time to start a new exercise routine.) So basically, if you are currently practicing an exercise routine of regular aerobics, and find yourself expecting, then this tape really is one of the better pre-natal ones I have run across and I think it will be ideal and enjoyable.

Consequently, if you are in reasonably good shape even though you haven’t exercised regularly, and have found out you are pregnant, this tape will probably be fine if you start as soon as possible into your pregnancy.  On the other hand, if you are basically sedentary and are in your second trimester or later, and suddenly decide to “get fit” in response to your burgeoning weight gain, you will most likely find this tape spending a lot of time on your shelf. You’re better off to start a walking program. 

Pregnancy exercise level should, with modifications, match pre-pregnancy exercise level to minimize injury and maximize regularity.  Still, if you have been the classic couch potato, and find you are pregnant with a desire to reform your sedentary ways, you may be able to begin with some segments of the tape and build up, but start well within your first trimester and pace yourself. 

My general advice to any woman contemplating a regular exercise routine during pregnancy is definitely check with your doctor first to rule out any medical condition that may contraindicate certain exercises, and then to follow up exercising by listening to your body very closely! Slow down when you need to and if at anytime you are feeling strained, stop and call your doctor. Make sure to err on the side of safety for both you and the baby. Overall I’d rate it a four diaper pins out of five.

  P.S. Don’t give this tape as a shower gift!  Not only is exercise a very personal and individualistic thing, but women don’t like others implying they need to get in shape, even if they are pregnant! (Trust me.) 

Available from RDK Productions 1(888) 757-0866.  Stay tuned for the post-natal review next issue!

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